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Friday, May 29

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2Co 10:5 NIV


You will never be any better, wiser, or happier than the thoughts that influence you. You say, “I can’t help it, these thoughts just come into my mind.” Yes, you can! “The weapons we fight with…have divine power to demolish strongholds…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (vv. 4-5 NIV). A “stronghold” is a thought-pattern that controls you. It could be fear, greed, inferiority, lust, etc. It’s a “stronghold” because it holds you strongly in its grip. How do you break that grip? With God’s Word. For example, when fear and inadequacy tell you you’re not good enough to succeed, become proactive and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Php 4:13 NKJV). If your immediate goal is to “feel good,” you’ll never develop self-control. “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:11 AMP). Discipline doesn’t bring immediate joy, but it brings lasting joy later on. Note the words “trained by it.” You must train your mind to go the right way; otherwise it’ll take you the wrong way. God says, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (Dt 30:19). God gives you choices. But He won’t make your choices for you; you must do that. In order to walk in God’s blessing each day, you must choose the right thoughts each day. And the longer you keep doing it, the easier it will become. You’ve just got to get through the “training” period.

Saturday, May 30

“He shall direct your paths.”
Pr 3:6 NKJV


Without self-control we end up hurting ourselves. But when we become overly controlling of ourselves or others, it’s an indication that we’re not trusting God enough. In the final analysis God alone determines our outcomes. So: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (vv. 5-6 NKJV). If you find yourself trying to control every detail and aspect of your life, try using these strategies for developing the right mindset: (1) Understand that you are not an independent, self-sufficient being. “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Ps 100:3). Sheep cannot take care of themselves; they need the shepherd to feed them, lead them, and protect them. Getting the idea? (2) When the unexpected happens, practice responding calmly. God is never taken by surprise. What seems like a crisis is often an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His love and care for you. (3) Focus on the internal and leave the external to God. Once you settle within yourself that you cannot control most external happenings but only your internal response to them, you’ll be able to stop stressing out over the uncontrollable and the inevitable. Take a deep breath to slow the flow of adrenaline, send up a silent prayer, then turn the problem over to God. Realize that His plans for your life have not been derailed. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Ps 139:16 NLT). Stop trying to control everything.